Sustainable Energetics for Africa

The interactive (summer) schools on “Sustainable Energetics for Africa (SE4A)”, which is funded by VolkswagenStiftung ( brings together young scientists originating from West Africa (School 1) or Central and North Africa (school 2) and few from Germany and other parts of the world. The schools will lay strong emphasis on the African energy situation, propose solutions to both the lack of energy and the resulting environmental problems (e.g. rapid deforestation paired by air pollution due to use of charcoal for cooking) and adopt an interactive approach in order to trigger research topics.

The schools approach the topic renewable energy in two ways. Replacing “renewable” by “sustainable” will include besides the trans-generations longer time aspect also the economic and social aspects of the topic, while replacing “energy” by “energetics” underlines the process aspect of solutions to be found as well as extending the topic from investigation of resources also to the most important topics demand and consumption, both much better suited to be transformed than the purely technical topic resources, which is commonly meant in discussions of "energy". In addition, the energy nexus (i.e. the interlinkages of conventional energy, renewable energy, water, environment, food security, development, and climate change mitigation) will be discussed in school 2 and the use of e-learning to facilitate education and research in sustainable energetics will be demonstrated in both schools. Due to the specific problems of Sub-Saharan Africa and the specific research activities of the hosting institution 2iE, water will play a special role also in School 1. Research scientists of the host institution will introduce this topic and provide the connection with the energy sector.

One essential part of the schools is to provide real introductory lectures such as a lecture explaining the important thermodynamic background and the terms energy and efficiency as well as overview lectures on energy demand development in Africa and on the recent developments in cost and sustainability of different energy technologies. The other part is the involvement of students in the teaching process, which will happen in three ways. A first way is the replacement of frontal lectures by a more interactive question and answer form wherever possible in the different lectures. A second way will be two tasks for all students to be worked on during afternoon or evening hours in groups of students. One will be the development of an energy scenario for 2050 (taking into consideration the energy nexus and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for West (School 1), Central and North Africa (school 2) consisting of contributions from counties of the mentioned regions, developed fully by the students, headed by Prof. Dieter Meissner. The second all-week task for the first school will be the development of a theatre performance connecting energy and culture as headed by Ms Maryam Abdi, a Fulbright Performing Arts student from the University of Evansville, USA who studied Theatre for Development (TfD) at the University of Yaoundé I, in Cameroon, and her mentor Dr Emelda Samba Ngufor. For school 2, the second all-week task will be the preparation of a “Science Slam” as a creative of a science competition. Students will be divided in subgroups of 4 to 5 students. Through a combination of power-point presentations and performing arts (comedy), each subgroup is expected to do a down-on-earth explanation of one of the important renewable topics (solar energy, biomass, biogas, wind energy, energy nexus, energy efficiency) at the same time making the audience to laugh.. The subgroups will be advised by Dr Emelda Samba, senior lecturer on performing arts at the University of Yaounde.

The results of both short-projects will be presented at the end of the week. Both short-projects will not only provide additional knowledge and skills, they will also lead to group formation and are intended to lead to long-time contacts between the participants.

The scientific activities of the students will be presented on posters displayed all week. The students will be allowed to do 2-3 mins presentations. This will also help the students to find colleagues with similar interests and induce collaborations in their scientific activities. A jury of 4 lecturers will select the three best posters to be awarded a poster prize during the summer school dinner at the last evening

In order to encourage international joint research projects on issues pertaining to sustainable development, an interactive lecture on how to apply and manage projects funded by international funding institutions will be offered by Prof Emanuela Colombo from Politecnico di Milano, who has gathered long term experience in EU-funded projects. Participants will also gain from the experience of Prof. Angeles Lopez Agüera, co-applicant of these schools, who is presently involved in multiple sustainable communities development projects in Latin America.

On the last day of school 1, the project results will be presented providing a first sustainable energy scenario for West Africa. In the evening performance the students will also demonstrate the connection between culture and energy to the audience. Thus, young scientists will be linked among each other and to established scientists, institutions and networks.

At the afternoon of the last day of school 2, the results on the energy scenario 2050 will be presented and the science slam competition will take place. The best performing group will receive a prize donated by ANSOLE and and a certificate during the summer school dinner.

To attain approximately 50% of female participation, we very much encourage young female scientists to apply.

Each participant of the schools will obtain a certificate of participation at the end of the events.